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THE ONE AND ONLY WINE TASTING GUIDE IN SOUTH AFRICA

The Pinotage Wine Grape

37 estates produce wine using this grape

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  • Cape Dutch Estate Cape Dutch Estates (14)
  • Contemporary Estate Contemporary Estates (17)
  • Design Estate Design Estates (4)
  • Mediterranean Estate Mediterranean Estates (2)

A few words about Pinotage

Pinotage is a red wine grape that is South Africa's signature variety. It was bred there in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut (Cinsaut was known as Hermitage in South Africa during that time, hence the portmanteau name of Pinotage). It typically produces deep red varietal wines with smoky, bramble and earthy flavors, sometimes with notes of bananas and tropical fruit, but has been criticized for sometimes smelling of acetone. Pinotage is often blended, and also made into fortified wine and even red sparkling wine. The grape is a viticultural cross of two varieties of Vitis vinifera, not a hybrid.

The grape is naturally high in tannins which can be tamed with limited maceration time but reducing the skin contact can also reduce some of the mulberry, blackberry and damson fruit character that Pinotage can produce. Some winemakers have experimented with letting the grapes get very ripe prior to harvest followed by limited oak exposures as another means of taming the more negative characteristics of the grape while maintaining its fruitiness. Newer clones have shown some potential as well.

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